Saturday, July 8, 2017

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind behind the Silk Road Drugs Empire By: Nick Bilton

Depending on who you talk to, you will get a different definition of what Silk Road was.  Here is the pre-2000 version of Silk Road:

The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction originally through regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West and stretching from the Korean peninsula[1] and Japan[2] to the Mediterranean Sea.[3] The Silk Road concept refers to both the terrestrial and the maritime routes connecting Asia and Europe. The overland Steppe route stretching through the Eurasian steppe is considered the ancestor to the Silk Road(s).
 ~ Wikipedia

Modern day definition is a little more sinister and refers to the illicit underground, online drug trade via one man's dream of "sticking it to the man" by creating an " of drugs"

This is a great book and covers details about this case I was not even aware of.  The book covers the life of Ross Ulbricht  the founder and mastermind of Silk Road the website. The Silk Road website was a website, only accessible via Tor that facilitated the purchasing of illicit drugs, guns, human organs and even murder.  It was known as the Amazon of drugs.  Ulbricht, AKA "Dread Pirate Roberts" AKA DPR was worth over 28 Million dollars at the time of seizure by the US Federal Government.

This book was a page turner for me. I was not only interested in the technology they discussed but also the libertarian views of the Ulbricht.  The book begins describing Ulbricht's early days and how he was interested in becoming a physicist.  He was, in all accounts a failure; nothing really to show from an accomplishment perspective.

Ulbricht was libertarian leaning.  He ascribed to the NAP (None aggression principal) of libertarianism. He read Rothbard, Mises, and Hyak.  He talked about free markets, personal rights and freedoms, and the legalization of drugs.  In full disclosure, I share many of those beliefs myself.  Anyone that knows me, knows that "fiscally I am more conservative than Conservatives and socially, I am more liberal than Liberals" but enough about me.

Ulbricht constructs a mushroom 'farm' so he could be the first supplier of drugs in the Silk Road, little did he know that this website would take him all over the world and finally landing him in prison for the rest of his life.

The book covers the theft of Bitcoin from Silk Road by Secret Service and other LOE.  It talked about how LOE straddled the fence from LOE to accomplice.  It served to prove to me that no one is immune to crime, even those sworn to enforce it.

It is  great read and I recommend it to anyone interested in the interworking of Silk Road.

Silk Road Logo from the Website

Ross Ulbricht AKA DPR, AKA Dread Pirate Roberts

DEA Agent Carl Force (Left) and Secret Service Agent Shaun Bridges currently serving time for stealing Bitcoin from Silk Road during their respective investigation as well as crossing the "LOE" line.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Portfolio (May 2, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1591848148
ISBN-13: 978-1591848141

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